Hey my ninjas-
I had the honor of competing at National Ninja League World Finals just last month. It was a great honor, a confirmation of my progress in the sport and a deep learning experience all in one. In other words, I had a blast!
Over 2,000 people across the country competed in regional qualifiers, and I was one of 200 people to qualify for finals. The great thing about National Ninja League is that literally anyone can compete, unlike the TV show where many people apply to get on the course (about 75,000 each year) but only a small percentage are chosen, usually around 600 ( 0.8%!)
Use the Force
Ninja obstacle competition are many things, but for me they are a spiritual practice. If I show up and pay attention, it’s guaranteed I’ll learn something really important about myself, my body, the way my mind works, and life. That’s why I find it so satisfying!
The pressure of competition squeezes my psyche and magnifies everything that’s in my body-mind-spirit (as I talked about in my American Ninja Warrior Vision Quest). Each course requires a delicate balance of power and precision, technique, and often just straight up confidence and courage. And each competition, frankly, feels like a self-reckoning. It’s often terror inducing, sometimes supremely satisfying, but always worth it.
While I’ve been training on ninja obstacles for the last 3 years, I still consider myself a beginner for many reasons. Mainly, it’s because I can feel how much room for growth there is for me in every aspect of the sport:
- grip strength
- rock climbing
- parkour skills
- observational skills
- trapeze skills
- trampoline skills
- sports psychology
- spiritual power
- relationship to fear
Each of these are an opportunity for me to learn, grow, and compete at the highest level possible.
The Need for Speed
Stage one was, as always, a speed course: 9 obstacles in under 1 minute and 40 seconds. In other words, I was WAY the eff out of my comfort zone. I agree with everything the announcers are saying on the video.
Here is the video of my run.
I managed to finish in the top 30% this year!
I look at each competition in three ways, in order to get the most out of the experience. What did I do well? What could I improve? What did I learn? Sometimes, the answers to the questions seem obvious, but a deeper understanding will emerge days or even weeks later. It’s such a rich experience, it really lives with me and in me beyond each event!
Thank you all for my support, and wish me luck in getting cast for this season of American Ninja Warrior!
With the spirit of the mountains,